Wow! Can you believe it, Autumn is already upon us? It must be time for the October edition, so pop on your comfy’s, make a brew and snuggle down while you read about all that’s happening, in our #Meltham community…….
…….there’s been a ‘Pop Up’ crossroads shop (see pg 13) Denis has managed the ‘Wilshaw 3 peaks’ find out more on page 31 and there are lots of opportunities to get yourself outdoors by helping to clear some church grounds (pg 25.)
TIME. Our relationship with it is one of the great stresses of our age. There is never enough of it. Our obsession with finding faster ways of doing things makes no difference. ‘Time Management’ is one of the most frequent searches on the internet. But ‘making the most of the time’ suggests something different. There is certainly a call to live wisely and responsibly here, but rather than a call to improve our organisational skills, we are being invited to live in time’s fullness. This is not about the quantity of time managed so much as the quality of time lived.
If we are to make the most of the challenges and opportunities of life, we will need a trusting relationship with time. Without it, our best intended activities will tend to be anxious, driven, reactive and increasingly lacking in depth.
What might it mean to live as if there really is time enough?
Time is God’s gift. So the first response might be to develop a habit of gratitude in relation to it. God allows time to be time. Time gives life its priority and direction. There is gift in the constraints time places upon our activities. Without time, nothing would have any more significance than anything else. Time is not working against us or denying us our truest vocation.
Therefore, thank God for time. From a Reflection by David Runcorn
A PRAYER FOR OUR TIME
Spirit of All Creation: May our faith in you and one another guide us
as we cannot yet see our way through this time of crisis.
May our hope in you and the goodness of our neighbours
strengthen us as we endure our discomforts and fears.
Give comfort to all who are emotionally, physically, and spiritually distressed.
Bless our healthcare providers and all who are taking care of those who are ill.
Grant wisdom and discernment to those who are researching and searching for medicines to combat our diseases, the coronavirus, and other illnesses.
Help us to reassure and comfort our children and protect them from harm and danger.
Grant, O God, to those who lead our governments, institutions, and hospitals,
our schools and local organizations, safety, and emergency services, and ourselves,
wisdom beyond our own wisdom to contain the coronavirus,
faith beyond our own faith to help us to fight our fears
and strength beyond our own strength to be resilient
and sustain all our vital institutions through this time of turmoil.
Although we are physically separated from one another help us,
Eternal One, to maintain our social connection to one another by our
creatively and ethically using social media.
Help each of us to know that there is something in us stronger than fear.
Birth in us a new sense of hope that will help us to rise above the clouds of despair.
Grant, Eternal Love, that we emerge from this time of crisis a more loving people who are more committed to the welfare of all and the earth that sustains us.
Reflection by Rev. Frederick J. Streets senior pastor of
Dixwell Congregational Church, New Haven, CT.
Issue Title: Hard Times, Gospel Values Issue Year: 2020
Join us in church or online for a Service of the Word led by Nigel Priestley – Sunday 27th September – 9:30am. As usual, the service can also be viewed at any time afterwards. https://youtu.be/5_i0FHRPKHA
‘Christ be near at either hand’. Let me make these simple words my prayer today. Let me know Christ’s presence in my life, Christ’s closeness to me in every moment of this day and let me welcome that presence with an open heart.
St Paul often seems over-confident, but his confidence in God is not something he has created. It was his gift from God at the time of his conversion.
As you read this reading from St Paul’s letter to the Romans, put yourself with Paul in this gesture of faith and availability.
No matter what, we are the Lord’s… Romans 14:7-9 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
We hear a lot these days about self-help. Bookshops are filled with guides to achieve this or that target. People in the media claim that they are self-made successes. There are countless memes, (a meme is typically a photo or video) about ‘doing it for yourself’. Motivational speakers encourage us to be self-aware, to be filled with self-esteem. Perhaps you have engaged with a self-help programme? Did it satisfy or leave you wanting something more…? Perhaps it left you desiring God to step in… Of course, taking care of yourself is a compassionate, mature, adult thing to do. But self-help is not easy. There is a phrase, ‘you cannot pour from an empty cup’. Have you heard this phrase? What do you think it means for you? Where might you be filled again? As Christians, we are vessels, like those made by Jeremiah’s potter. Gathered and shaped, spoiled and made over by an attentive, loving God. Our life, and our death, are grace filled by the Father’s hands, given over by his Son’s death and resurrection. In all that we are, we are the Lord’s.
Ponder on the Questions asking do they resonate with your own experience.
Keep your thoughts in mind and re-read the reading from Romans 14 again…
In thirty-six years in Ordained Ministry Romans 14:7-9 must be the scripture I have leaned on most. It has been most helpful with the bereaved whether it was used in the funeral service or not. For me personally it gave me confidence simply to know that I belong to the Lord and it has been a comfort and assurance to those I have shared that knowledge with.
Some months ago, In a rare bout of feeling down and struggling with confidence, a number of faithful Christians were a great support and help to me. I was given a book on mindfulness. I would probably say that the visit of the giver was more of a tonic than the book itself. I must say that it’s a good book, and I read it, but it made hard work of regaining confidence. I ought to have remembered that the answer to my problems lay waiting for me in Romans 14. And like the pot in the potter’s hand I needed to be reshaped and refilled with Gods Holy Spirit.
PRAY ‘Christ be near at either hand’. Let me make these simple words my prayer today. Let me know Christ’s presence in my life,
Christ’s closeness to me in every moment of this day and let me welcome that presence with an open heart.
You alone, O God, are infinite in love. You alone can speak to our condition.
You alone can search the mind and purify the heart. You alone can flow over our darkness with the ocean of eternal light George Fox 1624 -1691
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
For those not able to get to church, you can join the service online which will be streamed live on YouTube at 9:30am. As usual, you will also be able to view at any convenient time after that, but not before, as it won’t have happened yet 🙂
On Sunday 22 March CHURCH leaders in Britain and Ireland urged Christians to take part in a National Day of Prayer and Action about the problems caused by coronavirus. People were asked to light a candle in their window at 7 p.m. that evening “as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ”.
A chance conversation between Judith Powell and Liz Noble sparked off the idea to set a time in the day to join with others to pray.
The Churches Together in Meltham welcomed the idea and 11-00am was adopted as a time we might pray knowing that others who could manage the time would be praying alongside each other. Others may wish to join in solidarity at a time more suitable
for them. This week’s Prayer sheet is our twenty-eighth.
Our first Prayer in March was as follows: —
I need your peace now.
Silence my thoughts of confusion.
Silence my thoughts of anxiety.
Silence my thoughts of grief or despair.
Silence my thoughts of hurt or anger.
When there is chaos and turmoil surrounding me, shelter and protect me with your peace and loving, powerful presence.
As I take this time to stop and pray, fill me with your peaceful presence.
With each breath I take, I breathe in your peace that surpasses all understanding.
Help me to focus on peace instead of unrest.
I surrender my unrest to you so that I may receive peace. Help me to be a spark that ignites peace in others. Amen
By week seven Nick Fawcett’s book of prayers ‘For a time such as this’ proved well. Nick Fawcett served as a Baptist minister for thirteen years, and as a chaplain with the national charity Toc H for three, before deciding to focus on a writing ministry. His book of prayers touches almost every aspect of praying in the face of the Pandemic that we are living through. His book contains 52 prayers “one for every week of the year”. Quick off the mark getting his book published. His words are almost prophetic.
Here are a few of his headings for prayer:- ‘When you are struggling to know what to pray fo’r – ‘For Those struck down by coronavirus’ –‘When our prayers seem so inadequate’ – ‘For scientists seeking a vaccine’ – ‘ Trusting that God is with us however it seems otherwise’ –‘When it seems there’s no end to the crisis’.
From the list of his prayers I have chosen today:-
Learning from this crisis.
LEARNING FROM THIS CRISIS –Nick Fawcett
We thought we were in control,
But find we are not.
We thought we were strong,
But find we are weak.
We thought we had all the answers,
But find ourselves now beset by questions.
We thought we were ready,
but find ourselves unprepared.
We thought we had life mapped out,
But find instead that the future is uncertain.
We thought that we could deal with anything,
But we find ourselves struggling to cope.
Lord, we are confronted by awkward uncomfortable truths.
And we do not like to face them,
but face them we must.
Help us to pause and take stock,
to reflect and through adversity
to learn and to grow. Amen
Recently we have also been using John Bells book “Living with the Psalms”. John is part of Wild Goose and Iona Community. He is a musician and song writer and an authority on the Psalms.
Almost half of the Psalms deal with life gone wrong. The Psalms are a testimony of a people who seek God in every aspect of daily living.
The Psalms are a wonderful resource for us to use in our prayer times. They can help us join in the symphony of Praise to our creator God and they also contain joy and lamentations, hope, and salvation.
This Monday we enter the ”rule of six.” We have observed Government guidelines including Lockdown. People overall have been creative in adjusting their lives and helping both the community and their neighbours.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that we are entering a new academic year a time of renewal of purpose and vision. The past year has held unimaginable moments for many during the pandemic. As Christians we need to be steadfast in prayer as we see the potential for things to get worse if we don’t follow the government guide lines.
Psalm 5 Teaches us how to pray.
PSALM 5 v1—3
O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning. 2 Listen to my cry for help, my Lord and my God, for I pray to no one but you. 3 Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.